Hawaii softball coach Bob Coolen got “a call out of nowhere” from Cory Myers, the son of Arizona State coach Clint Myers and a friend of Coolen’s. Cory lives near Tuscaloosa and knew of a practice facility the Rainbow Wahine could use. But Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said never mind that, go ahead and use the Alabama facility the teams will play at Friday and Saturday in an NCAA super regional.
Are we surprised by such a gesture? Of course not, not anyone who’s been to Tuscaloosa. In 2006 those of us from Hawaii there for the UH football game against the Tide learned all about Southern Hospitality … which is quite similar to the Aloha Spirit.
Of course that ends Friday on the field when the Wahine and Tide meet up for the right to advance to the Women’s College World Series next week.
Coolen and Murphy are friends from a few years back. Still, there’s nothing that says Murphy had to let UH practice two days on the field the teams will compete on.
“That’s real good, we’re very fortunate,” Coolen said by phone today. “Patrick opened up everything for us, and we’re very grateful.”
Coolen threw his usual 400 pitches of batting practice today.
“I couldn’t wait to get some cold liquids in me after,” said Coolen, who added that practice was between noon and 2 p.m. He said the temperature was in the 70s, but humidity off the charts.
He said the team was still shaking off jet lag today after yesterday’s long travel from the California Bay Area, where the Wahine won the Stanford Regional.
“We were a little sluggish today, struggled a little at the plate,” Coolen said. “We lifted Monday and traveled yesterday, so that’s normal. It’s good we’re getting two days of practice and we’ll literally be back in the swing of things tomorrow.”
Shannon Antonio, former UH team manager and sister of former players Rose and Joyce Antonio, lives near Tuscaloosa, Coolen said. So Rose and Joyce and their parents and other members of their family are headed there.
Catcher Katie Grimes, who is from Tampa, Fla., also expects plenty of family and friends.
“Katie’s very excited,” Coolen said. “This is the closest to home we’ve gotten her.”
Some folks are surprised Brian Ching, the Kamehameha graduate from Haleiwa, didn’t make the final cut for the US World Cup team.
The MLS all-star striker was on the last World Cup team, but did not play. He is coming off a hamstring injury he suffered as a member of the Houston Dynamo.
Coach Bob Bradley announced the final team today after cutting it from 30 to 23 players.
–By Dave Reardon